Kathy Mansfield is the library media/textbooks consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education (an office job). She spent 19 years as an elementary school librarian in Kentucky, serving inner-city, suburban and rural schools, as well as a 4-month terrifying tenure as a middle school social studies teacher. She enjoys writing poetry about life as a school librarian.
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Aside from the obvious fact that teachers are responsible for 30 to 40 loud, obnoxious, sometimes foul-smelling, disrespectful children or adolescents, at a time, there are several other major differences that most people might not be aware of. Here are a few that really stand out of the crowd!
1. Bathroom Breaks
TEACHERS have approximately 90 seconds to go to the bathroom. Those 90 seconds include finding a colleague to watch their students, running down the hall to the closest bathroom, and running back to class before the transition bell rings.
OFFICE WORKERS can read an entire magazine during a bathroom visit.
2. Lunch Breaks
TEACHERS have approximately 5 minutes to eat lunch. Although 20 minutes is the usual allotment, that boils down to 90 seconds to go to the bathroom, 90 seconds to check an assigned in-school mailbox, 5 minutes to read and respond to emails, 5 minutes to return phone calls and complete paperwork, 2 minutes to heat up lunch, leaving 5 minutes to attempt to eat... on a good day.
OFFICE WORKERS can get their hair done during their hour-long mid-day break, or even take a beauty nap.
3. Noise Breaks
TEACHERS have to listen for everything, particularly noises that might lead to classroom catastrophes like back-of-the-classroom conspiratorial whispers. But it's not the whispers we need a break from. It's the pencil sharpener, the fire drills, the end-of-period bells, the PA system, the screeching chairs, the tattletales, the room phone ringing, slamming locker doors, and hallways filled with loud, extremely loud children.
OFFICE WORKERS can listen to Pandora through their earbuds without any concern for the distinct sound of paper being formed into a spit ball.
4. Coffee Breaks
TEACHERS grab day-old coffee from the Teacher’s Lounge and attempt a few sips between classes, but end up getting interrupted and drink it after it's cold and nasty.
OFFICE WORKERS discuss the daily news with colleagues, over a delicious latte, around the office Nespresso machine, during morning, afternoon, and periodical breaks.
5. Exercise Breaks
TEACHERS are on their feet all day long, between morning bus duty, walking students to the cafeteria, monitoring recess, and pacing around the classroom. Sitting is a concept we get to explore only on the commute to and from the circus (aka school).
OFFICE WORKERS rely on Apple Watches and Fitbits to remind them to stand.
6. Work Days
A TEACHER'S DAY doesn’t end when school is over. After-school tasks typically include writing lesson plans, making copies, preparing materials for the next day, collaborating with colleagues, and meeting with parents, even if that means staying at school until late at night.
AN OFFICE WORKER'S day ends at 5:00 p.m. Punch the time card and be in their car by 5:03pm. Any unfinished work waits until the next day.
7. Sick Days
TEACHERS show up at work with life-threatening illnesses since preparing sub plans for a substitute teacher, and fixing whatever issues may occur under their watch, take too much effort.
OFFICE WORKERS use “sick days” to catch up on sleep, Netflix, or go shopping.